'VIP paedophile ring' officer carrying out database blunder review

Former top police officer who oversaw ‘VIP paedophile ring’ fiasco is carrying out review into major database blunder

  • Ex-Metropolitan Police Commissioner is chairing review into data deletion  
  • Entire criminal records of more than 15,000 people were accidentally deleted 
  • More than 200,000 offence details were lost including fingerprints and DNA 

Victims of the Operation Midland scandal last night criticised the Government for appointing former Scotland Yard chief Lord Hogan-Howe to carry out an external review of a major police database blunder.

The ex-Metropolitan Police Commissioner – in charge when officers raided homes of leading Establishment figures as part of the force’s disastrous VIP paedophile ring probe – was this month chosen by the Home Secretary to chair a review into a data-deletion incident.

In January, it emerged that the entire criminal records of more than 15,000 people were accidentally deleted from the Police National Computer.

Victims of the Operation Midland scandal last night criticised the Government for appointing former Scotland Yard chief Lord Hogan-Howe to carry out an external review of a major police database blunder

More than 200,000 offence details were lost, including fingerprints and DNA records, putting entire investigations at risk and creating ‘huge dangers’ for public safety, according to Labour politicians.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and Policing Minister Kit Malthouse have appointed Lord Hogan-Howe to conduct an external review to ensure ‘lessons are learned to avoid similar incidents in the future’.

The ex-Metropolitan Police Commissioner – in charge when officers raided homes of leading Establishment figures as part of the force’s disastrous VIP paedophile ring probe – was this month chosen by the Home Secretary to chair a review into a data-deletion incident. Pictured: Carl Beech who accused Establishment figures of paedophilia

A spokesman yesterday described him as ‘ideally placed’. He is due to report back next month. However, the decision has astonished those caught up in the Operation Midland scandal.

Retired High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques last week called for a criminal inquiry into Scotland Yard and the police watchdog after all officers involved in the disaster were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Sir Richard was commissioned by Lord Hogan-Howe to conduct a review into Operation Midland in 2016 which identified 43 separate failings. But the Met boss announced he was standing down before the findings were made public.

He has since been elevated to the House of Lords as a cross-bench peer, and last year was appointed by Michael Gove to a non-executive directorship at the Cabinet Office.

Midland was launched following wild claims of a sadistic Westminster paedophile gang made by fantasist Carl Beech – known as ‘Nick’. He was jailed for 18 years for perverting the course of justice and child sex offences in 2019. Last night former MP Harvey Proctor, who lost his job and home as a result of Operation Midland, said: ‘Lord Blunder’ should never have received a reward for failure by being ennobled still less should he have been appointed to work at the Home Office to attempt to undo the police blunders of losing data in its criminal records. This man is unfit to hold any public office whatsoever.’

And Lincoln Seligman, godson of former PM Edward Heath who was falsely accused by Beech, said: ‘The police officers involved, whatever their degree of involvement, have walked away to higher things. Not only have they not criticised their employees for screwing up, they seem to have suffered no consequences at all and have no shame about the stupidity of the whole thing.’

Barrister Daniel Janner QC, whose late father Lord Janner was falsely accused by Beech, said: ‘Given the cloud over his reputation in regards to the Met’s Operation Midland investigation, now is not the time for him to be looking into blunders involving the police.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel and Policing Minister Kit Malthouse have appointed Lord Hogan-Howe to conduct an external review to ensure ‘lessons are learned to avoid similar incidents in the future’

Last week, the Home Secretary refused to publicly back current Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick following criticism of her force after revelations about Operation Midland in the Daily Mail.

She was asked three times during an LBC radio interview whether she had confidence in the Scotland Yard boss, but would only say that Dame Cressida ‘has done a lot of great work’. It prompted a spokesman for Miss Patel to hurriedly release a statement on her behalf insisting she had ‘full confidence in her to do the job’.

The Prime Minister also backed the under-fire police chief, whose term as commissioner is due to end next year.

But Scotland Yard sources have insisted that Dame Cressida is merely ‘carrying the can’ for mistakes made under her predecessor, Lord Hogan-Howe.

Last week, Lady Brittan, widow of former home secretary Leon, whose homes were raided during the probe, condemned a ‘culture of cover-up’ at the Met.

Last night a Home Office spokesman said of Lord Hogan-Howe: ‘His wealth of experience, including as Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, HM Inspector of Constabulary and Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, means he is ideally placed to conduct this review.’ 

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